Colorado’s power sector aims to surpass the state’s emissions reduction goals and end the burning of coal earlier than expected.
The state’s utilities have submitted plans to ramp up renewables, shutter coal plants and decrease demand in accordance with a 2019 state law. That law sought to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions — when compared to 2005 levels — by 90 percent by 2050 for the state and by 80 percent by 2030 for the power sector.
With many utility plans approved — and the state poised to sign off on the plan of its largest utility, Xcel Energy — Colorado officials say they’re ahead of the already ambitious pace set three years ago.
“Given the decision we anticipate on Xcel’s plan, I think we can confidently state that … we will exceed our goal,” Will Toor, executive director of the Colorado Energy Office, said in an interview. That, he added, is “a really important signal that we have the ability to make a very rapid transition to much cleaner electricity generation,” especially in light of the Supreme Court ruling last week limiting the federal government’s greenhouse gas regulation powers (Energywire, July 1).
The 2019 law required the state’s two largest utilities, Xcel and Tri-State Generation and Transmission, to submit plans to meet reduction goals. The Public Utilities Commission has already approved a proposal from Tri-State to reduce emissions 80 percent by 2030, retiring all of its coal units by the end of the decade.